Alexa

Merkel: GM talks focused on Magna offer for Opel

Merkel: GM talks focused on Magna offer for Opel

Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday that Germany's talks with General Motors Co. over the future of its Opel unit are focused on Berlin's preferred bid, by Canadian auto parts maker Magna.
But she softened her insistence that the deal be reached swiftly, saying substance _ not speed _ was paramount.
Merkel's government hopes to see Opel sold to an investor group led by Magna International Inc. which includes Russian state-owned bank Sberbank. She said in a Wednesday interview with N24 TV that ongoing talks centered on that bid.
"We are negotiating with the Americans over questions that remain regarding Magna's offer," Merkel said.
The government has offered ⁈llion ($6.5 billion) in credit to support the Magna bid. It has not offered to help other investors, including Brussels-based RHJ International SA, whose offer GM prefers.
Merkel's comments come a day after GM negotiator John Smith met with German representatives in Berlin after GM's management board rejected the German government's aid package.
Merkel has been increasingly criticized for sticking so fiercely to Magna, which has promised to save the most jobs by keeping all of Opel's four German factories open.
Under the terms of the deal being discussed, Magna and Sberbank would get a 55 percent stake in Opel while GM would hold onto a 35 percent stake. Opel workers would get 10 percent.
Adam Opel GmbH was transferred to a government-backed trust earlier this year that holds 65 percent of the automaker, with GM holding 35 percent.
In an interview with the Passauer Neue Presse daily, the director of the German Economic Institute, Michael Huether, charged the government of "making the gross error" of focusing all its attention only on one bidder.
Opposition leader Guido Westerwelle, whose Free Democrats are favored by Merkel as a coalition partner after Sept. 27 parliamentary elections, said the move "limits our scope for negotiation by pinning us down."
Merkel also acknowledged that there remained fears that funding from either side of the Atlantic could flow across the ocean.
"Just as the Americans say, 'no money for Europe,' we also have put our firewall _ finances for Europe must stay in Europe," Merkel said.
The chancellor also appeared to change tack regarding the swiftness of the negotiations, which she has pushed to end, saying "substance has to come before speed."
Nevertheless, Merkel said she expected some developments in the negotiations by Sept. 8-9, when GM's management board is scheduled to meet. "Hopefully, by then at the latest, we will have moved ahead," she said.


Updated : 2020-12-06 07:37 GMT+08:00